On November 15, 2019, a group of 27 organizations announced the formation of a local coalition called United for All. Led by the City of Ottawa, United Way East Ontario, Ottawa Police Service, and joined by many other organizations, the group will coordinate local efforts to overcome hate and violence in our city.
The launch of this coalition is United for All’s first step to publicly stand up against issues like racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, violence against women and more. Though in its early stages, over the coming year the group will develop a city-wide plan to help address the root causes of hate and violence — with the aim of making Ottawa a welcoming city for all. As part of the plan, the group will aim to secure public and private funding to support its vital work.
In recent years, Ottawa has seen a sharp rise in hate crimes and hate speech toward religious and cultural groups, Indigenous community members and more. According to Statistics Canada, police-reported hate crimes in Canada jumped by 47 per cent in 2017. In that year, Ottawa ranked among the top 10 cities with highest reported hate crime rates in the country.
As its first milestone today, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and the City of Ottawa’s leadership signed the Strong Cities Network (SCN) agreement – as the largest coalition of organizations to join the movement. Launched in September 2015, the SCN builds collaboration between mayors, political groups and frontline agencies to tackle violent extremism in all its forms, around the world. Being a member will allow the City and United for All to access research data, capacity-building supports and learning resources, as well as a training hub.
“We know members of our communities face Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and other forms of hate,” said Yasir Naqvi, Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Canadian Citizenship.” We’re here today to show that we are taking a unified approach to help address these issues.”
“As a municipality and a coalition we’re coming together to show that all forms of hate are unacceptable,” said Ottawa city councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe ward, Rawlson King. “United for All is a call to action; together we will shine a light on violence and hate, and to find a better path forward for our community.”